Stacy Peralta and company are back with another outstanding documentary, this time on big wave surfing. If you were a fan of Dog Town And Z-Boys, you’ll at least appreciate the film for its outstanding narration, amazing mix of old and new surf footage and the adrenaline rush of seeing some of the most incredible waves on Earth. While I’ve never stepped foot on a surf board, I’ve always had an intense appreciation for the culture. I grew up on Powell Peralta Bones Brigade skate films in a quiet suburb in Kansas, so street surfing was all I knew. Every once in a while I would pick up a surf magazine just to look at the pictures, but that was the extent of my exposure.
I remember coming to Los Angeles for the first time and seeing the ocean. There’s something magical about it. I’m drawn to it and love the idea of it’s vastness. Standing on the sand a couple of blocks from where I live, I’m humbled, but seeing the big wave surfers in Riding Giants literally brought tears to my eyes. All you can do is sit, mouth agape, and bear witness to these human beings that have no fear of the ocean. They are at one with it. They live for it, and when they don’t have it, they literally get depressed.
The interviews with all of the originals were so entertaining. I laughed throughout the film as they spoke of the surfing way of life, the beginnings of big wave surfing and responding to the future. It’s hard to view surfing as just a sport when you see a film like this. These guys surf every day of their lives until they die. It’s inspiring to watch. Sure, it makes me want to surf, but at the same time it just makes me smile and yearn for that feeling, that connection they have with the waves.
When I saw Step Into Liquid last year, I was beside myself when they showed footage of Lance Hamilton, the modern day surfing superman. The footage of him being towed in to these gigantic waves is mind-blowing. I didn’t even know there were 80 foot waves, never mind that people surfed them! All I could do was shake my head in amazement and smile from ear to ear.
You will walk away from this film, adrenaline flowing, feeling like you can do anything. You’ll have an insight as to why surfers do it out of love and you will undoubtedly have new respect for the ocean. There’s still plenty of daylight left, so if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna go surf the sidewalks along the ocean for a while.